SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The University of San Francisco promoted associate coach Todd Golden to head coach after Kyle Smith left to become head coach at Washington State.
Golden will take over the Dons for his first college head coaching job, receiving a five-year contract. The school announced his hiring Wednesday night a couple of hours after Smith's departure became official, with athletic director Joan McDermott making her first major hire since taking over earlier this month from Scott Sidwell. McDermott also thanked Smith for his positive contributions to turning around the proud USF program.
"It is an incredible honor to be named the next men's basketball coach at the University of San Francisco," the 33-year-old Golden said. "Coach Smith has done an amazing job building the foundation of this program, and it will be the responsibility of our staff and players to continue that progress. I'm excited to continue working with our amazing student-athletes who are high achievers both on and off the court. I greatly appreciate the support of the administration, and look forward to working with Joan McDermott to make this basketball program the best it can be."
Smith is leaving for the Pac-12 job to sign a six-year deal with the Cougars worth $1.4 million per season.
Golden started his coaching career at Columbia in 2013-14 — also under Smith there — before working for two years at Auburn. He has spent the past three seasons at USF, where the Dons won at least 20 games in each of those for the first time in 37 years, serving recruiting and defensive coordinator for the Dons.
Golden played in the West Coast Conference for USF's Bay Area rival, Saint Mary's, and earned a degree in business administration. The Gaels twice reached the NCAA Tournament during Golden's playing career at point guard.
He also played two years professionally for Maccabi Haifa in Israel.
"He brings an energy and enthusiasm to the game that is contagious," McDermott said. "His involvement the last three years was paramount in helping Kyle Smith move this program in the right direction. He's been the primary recruiter for the Dons while he's been with us on the Hilltop and promoting him was the logical choice to ensure a smooth transition. Kyle left a great legacy and now it is Todd's time to take our program to the next level."